Dear Mumma and Dadda,
Firstly thank you for my 2nd birthday party, the unicorn theme was the most awesome. I should say however, I don't appreciate other children playing with my toys; but you're forgiven for inviting them as you gave me cool presents.
Now I am 2 I felt I should write you a little letter to explain why my behaviour has changed; you know as a get out when I'm next in trouble.
Elders, it’s me, your anxious little (v cute) toddler. I know I don’t normally have the words to explain my behaviour and at times it probably really, really frustrates you. Mumma, I've heard you air your emotions! Anyway, I am sorry. I frustrate myself too. Truly, I do!
I am not trying to be difficult and I am not a bad kid really, but sometimes things just get overwhelming.
Like in the mornings when you ask me if I want marmite on toast or pancakes. Toast sounds good, but when I see it I know I definitely made the wrong choice and I cry and say I wanted pancakes. Decisions are hard for me and I am afraid I might make the wrong choice — and I often do. Sometimes I might go back and fourth with what I want and confuse us both.
But you see to us toddlers food is scary. You sometimes put things on my plate that look and smell weird. I get upset when I think the food is nice and smooth and then my tongue finds lumps. Sometimes this makes me want to throw up. I might spit my food out or gag. I am not trying to waste food. Sometimes food has a strong taste and I get overwhelmed. To be safe, I try to stick with foods that I have already seen and I already know how they taste in my mouth. Nanna may call me “picky” — I don’t know what that means, but if it means not gagging or tasting yucky food — then yes, I am! And proud to be. She probably eats anything put in front of her I don't know, but I do not!
I like to know where you are. I follow you everywhere. When you leave the room I get scared because I don’t feel 100% safe still. I know when you are with me, you’ll keep me safe. I trust you. Sometimes I don’t play because I want to make sure I know where you are going. I hate it when you go to the bathroom and don’t let me in. Only my little fingers can get under the door. I wish I could squish my whole self under but I'm guessing that would hurt. I stay very close now so you don’t have time to disappear.
The potty is not my friend. We have not been formally introduced but if we were I would not add her to my Christmas card list. I don’t know why you want me to sit on that scary thing with a huge hole anyway. I mean what if I fall and am lost FOREVER!. What if it swallows me. What if bugs come out of it. What if I have to wipe and can’t get clean. I am okay with peeing really fast, but I don’t like to sit there and poop.
Sometimes it hurts my bottom to poop, so I just hold it in. Sometimes I hold it in for so long, small little poop balls fall out of my pants. I know you think that is gross - but I can’t help it. Sometimes I hold my pee and poop and it starts to hurt. I bounce around and hold my bottom and you tell me to go - but I tell you I don’t have to go. There is no way I am sitting on that scary potty. Nappies are brilliant inventions so why rock my boat.
Night time is the scariest time of day. Everything gets dark and you put me in a room all by myself. I worry there might be bugs in my room. Scary things are in the corners, but you tell me they are “shadows” - whatever that means. You tell me you will keep me safe, but then you leave. Am I safe if you are not with me? Are there scary things that you need to protect me from?
I don’t like shutting my eyes — what if something pops out or tries to get me. Sometimes you will lie down with me, but I can’t relax because I know if I close my eyes you will leave! I listen and feel for the bed to move so I can catch you before you leave. Sometimes I see you trying to sneak out, but I cry and get you back in bed! Stop trying to out wit me and leave. You never can.
I know dressing me is a hassle too. Trust me — it is a hassle for me also. Whose idea was it that we should all wear clothes? I love to just run around naked. You tell me I have to at least wear underwear. Whatever! Socks are the worst. Why should I wear these things that make my feet hot and have big bumps on my toes. I can feel these bumps in my shoes.
Speaking of shoes! Ugh — don’t get me started on that crazy invention! I hate shoes. Okay not totally true. They do look lovely in all their different colours but I don't need to wear them. Sometimes they feel too loose, sometimes they are too tight. I want my feet to breath — so I'll stick to wearing my new flip flops please. I wish I could wear those all year.
The things you mumma call “tags” are another huge problem. Who thought it would be a good idea to have an itchy piece of fabric attached to all my clothes. I can feel it scratching my back as I walk. I try to rip at it and finally just rip off the whole t-shirt. You yell at me to put my clothes back on. I hate clothes. I hate your yelling.
I don’t deal well with change. I have been meaning to talk to you about this. Don’t tell me we are going to the park and then tell me we “ran out of time.” Where did time run off to?
Sometimes I am just getting into something and you tell me to clean up. I can’t leave my square half done. My square still needs that pink feather glued to it and I wanted to add the sparkles too. There is no way I am leaving my square! We battle a lot. I win sometimes.
I know some of these things can get very annoying. I am new to this weird world and I am just learning how to adapt and get around. Sometimes the sounds, smells and noises of life scare me. New experiences can be overwhelming and worry me.
I see so many things that can hurt me. Things you may not think are scary but are scary to me. Like the ducks at the farm or the loud truck. I know you tell me it is “just this” or “just that” — but I don’t know that — I am just learning. Give me a little break please. I will grow out of this phase. Before you know it I'll be 3 and all grown up...
So be patient with me mumma and dadda. Pick your battles please. Talk in a calming voice — even when I am screaming at the top of my lungs. You are my anchor in my crazy little world — actually you are my world!; and one day I will really really appreciate what you are doing for me I promise!